Loose Ends

Loose Ends

the creative impulse gone awry

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Hello, again, again!

Hello dear readers!

I laugh when I look back at the last post, specifically the date.  It was just a few weeks before we had contractors tear out a wall in our house.  That was the beginning of a long, complicated, often very sad and frustrating, often very happy and rewarding spring and summer.  We'll talk about most of it, there is a lot to say, but we should start closer to the beginning, okay?

We knew when we bought the house that the kitchen was wretched and needed to be gutted.  It was a very quaint and classic "cottage" style kitchen, but the flow didn't work for us and the original stick built cabinets were falling apart.  Also, the yellow and blue tiles on the wall had lead glazing and were, well, yellow and blue, so we wanted plaster walls!  The appliances were serviceable - except for the fridge, which we replaced within days of moving in.  We'll look into new appliances later, we're on a budget, so if it works, it's staying!

We lived with the kitchen for almost a year, thinking and scheming about what we wanted to do.  The one thing we were nearly certain of is that we would rather have a large eat-in kitchen rather than the kitchen/formal dining room situation original to the house.  So we removed the crazy ornate corner cabinet, and hired contractors to get us from this:


to this:



We were very lucky in how the house was built that this wall wasn't load bearing.  It certainly helped with the expense of the project.  We decided to do our kitchen renovation in phases for 2 reasons: 1- we needed to budget wisely and 2- most of the kitchens we loved had been slowly worked on over the course of several years.  Not being particularly design-savvy we knew we wouldn't be able to get that layered look in one giant leap, so we figured if we slowed down the process we might be able to achieve that look by accident (on purpose)

Once we had the wall out, we lived with it a few weeks and started thinking seriously about the peninsula we wanted to build where the corner cabinet had stood.  I imagined something generously sized, so I could roll out cookies and the girls could do homework at the same time.  Enter Ikea:



That, my friends, is a counter.  I was really happy with how easy it was to put together the cabinets and install them.  If you are used to the Ikea instructions, really, putting a kitchen together is like building an Expedit plus some leveling and attaching to the walls.



We've been thrilled with how solid they are and just how much storage we have in that peninsula.  We had a small issue with flooring, because of the space where the wall used to be.  Both rooms, the kitchen and the dining room had 3" pine plank floors, but that little strip had, uh, nothing, of course.  The quote from the contractor was $1000 for that 13 square foot area to match the floor and install it and he still said that it wouldn't match perfectly.  We had no extra floorboards anywhere in the house - only the living room has this flooring, the rest of the house (and closets) had 2" oak floors, go figure.  So we decided to put something else there - I can think of a lot of ways to spend $1000 that would be more satisfying than 13 square feet of flooring.  When looking at all the options, tile seemed to be the easiest and least expensive choice.  We went with a 2" slate tile.


the dry fit:


It turns out that Clara loves to help me with tile.  We had done a small amount of tile work in our old house, and this time she was big enough to really help with the grouting.



We're thrilled with the results:




Truths: I took this picture today, and it's way cleaner than usual.  It took us about 4 months to get this much done.  I think if this was the only project we had going on, it would have gone faster... but then again we did try to take things slowly for a reason.  I guess this is one of the benefits of the frantic pace of our life.  I apologize for the cell-phone photos, but we just didn't take a lot of pictures with the big camera.  It was so dusty and chaotic most of the time!  I'll be back soon with more on what we were all up to in the past few months. 



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